Injury fails to affect Reynolds' resolve

British Superbike leader John Reynolds rode through the pain barrier yesterday when he qualified for tomorrow's championship round at Brands Hatch only 12 days after breaking his left collarbone in a crash.

British Superbike leader John Reynolds rode through the pain barrier yesterday when he qualified for tomorrow's championship round at Brands Hatch only 12 days after breaking his left collarbone in a crash.

The 38-year-old Nottinghamshire rider took his Rizla Suzuki to 11th fastest, after intense treatment for the injury.

"I'm feeling pretty beat-up at the moment," he said.

"The collarbone feels very painful, but I've got a lot of strength and movement in it. Sunday's races will be a damage-limitation exercise. I just want to get a few points to keep my championship hopes alive."

Reynolds was injured in a crash with his team-mate Gregorio Lavilla at Thruxton on 6 June. He has since undergone laser and pulsed magnetic field therapy with motorsports specialist Brian Simpson.

An identical injury cost Reynolds the British Superbike title last year, when he broke the same collarbone in qualifying for the first round of the series at Silverstone. Although he fought back to finish runner-up, Ducati's Shane Byrne was able to establish a massive early-season grip on the title.

Reynolds' partner in the Rizla Suzuki squad, Yukio Kagayama - recovering from a broken collarbone - finished first in yesterday's provisional qualifying with a lap of 1m 26.825s. Kagayama suffered his accident qualifying for the Suzuka 300-kilometre race in Japan three weeks ago, and has a titanium plate inserted in his shoulder.

Michael Rutter, eight points behind Reynolds in the race for this year's Superbike title, was sixth fastest on his HM Plant Honda, in 1m 27.272s.

Rutter has scored 11 podium finishes, including three race wins, from 12 starts, and will aim to capitalise on Reynolds' discomfort on tomorrow.

But Reynolds is a specialist on the GP circuit, giving the 1,000cc Rizla Suzuki its first win there in June 2002. He and team owner Paul Denning, who has developed the 200mph machine from an £8,000 road bike in his Crescent Suzuki shop in Dorset, are taking a positive view of their chances.

"We're not rolling over," Reynolds said. "We're all pretty upbeat in the team: we've accepted what's happened and we're saying, 'Let's get on with it as best we can.' I won't be able to ride aggressively on Sunday, but if I get a clear track I'll be able to ride fast."

MonsterMob Ducati's Sean Emmett finished second in yesterday's session, from the privateer entrant Jon Kirkham on a Suzuki.

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